In an open letter on ESPN.com and interview with Jeremy Schaap, former Bucs defensive end Ryan Russell told his story of playing in the NFL while simultaneously hiding his sexuality from the outside world.
The Dallas Cowboys originally drafted Russell in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft out of Purdue. The pass-rusher played one game with Dallas before being released and signed to the Bucs’ practice squad, eventually spending the next two seasons in Tampa Bay. In 2017, Russell played in 14 games, starting six, and totaling 20 tackles, three sacks and nine quarterback hits.
Russell missed the 2018 season after a shoulder injury he sustained with the Bucs in 2017 and is now looking for his return to the NFL, this time with nothing to hide.
“I want the next part of my career — and life – steeped in trust and honesty,” Russell said. “During the season you spend more time with your team than with your own family; truth and honesty are the cornerstones of a winning culture. My truth is that I’m a talented football player, a damn good writer, a loving son, an overbearing brother, a caring friend, a loyal lover, and a bisexual man.”